Date: 1st September 2006 at 5:03pm
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New Watford signing Tommy Smith has spoken out on why he left Vicarage Road in 2003 and believes that he is a bigger asset to the club now than he was before his departure.

“It was a very tough decision to leave Watford when I did,” Smith told the official site.

“In hindsight, it is one I’m glad I took even though it was hard to move away at a young age. I think I had gone as far as I could at the club at that time.”

“Not playing in the semi final told me that and gave me a real kick up the backside and told me that I needed to get on with my career,” said Smith, who joined Sunderland on a free transfer a soon after being dropped by former boss Ray Lewington for the FA Cup semi-final against Southampton.

“Getting a fresh start seemed to be the best option for me and I think that has proved to be the case.” However, the Hemel Hempstead-born frontman says that in an ideal world he would have never wanted to leave the club.

“Ideally, I would have loved to have stayed here for my whole career and become the best player that Watford have ever had,” explained Smith. “But things don’t always happen as you want them to.”

The former Academy player received a hostile reception from the Hornets faithful whenever he came up against his former club but the 26-year-old says he doesn`t hold it against the fans.

“I don’t hold it against the fans for the reaction I got when I came back here playing for other clubs. I expected it really and I think I would have been disappointed if there had been no reaction at all. Strangely, I was quite pleased to see that people were upset that I had left.”

Smith, who this week joined Watford on a four-year deal from Derby County, concluded: “I just hope that I can come back now and prove that I am a better player than I was when I left and that I made the right decision to leave when I did and that I’ve now come back here as a better player and am a bigger asset to the club than I was before.”